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I’m A Man Because You are A River


On this river bank

in a most pleasant seat

under a cool canopy

of Kumbuk trees

I will rest awhile

for a brief respite in life


Here and there in the high canopy

caressed by long fingers

red leaves rustle in the breeze

they move and show

the blue sky in a floral pattern.

its shadow falling on the water

breaking into a thousand little fragments.


When the sun’s brassy rays

flow along with the river

the jeweled lights

float in the soft darkness beneath the canopy

the grandeur is beyond words

and only a poet can sing of it.

Free from other ‘samsaric bonds’

my mind falls in love


As with a language so familiar

I understand what you say so coyly

smiling like the foam

as you go winding along

amidst the rocks

breaking into a symphony


I will throw away the watch in my hand

I will throw away the shoes on my feet.

Leaving you where else can I go?

As I shed my clothes

one now and then another

I see my own body’s image

like a dark shadow


Because I am a man

and you are a river

let’s melt softly

in a loving embrace.

Is there another way?


Translated by A T Dharmapriya




Dry Season: Riverside



You paddle away into the distance …

And I still sit on the bank


Before me green eddies in the river;

mid-day, and the wet sun glints

in the paddle strokes


The etti trees that survived the storm

are laden with bitter fruit beside the bank;

and scattered coconut palms guzzle the sun

On the bridge the crowds pass, still unhushed ….


Boatman, you paddle still further away

and lovelorn

I sit on the bank alone


Translated by S Pathmanathan


dark sea



But Every Gull is Not Called Jonathan L.


When first love dies, it is like a sea-bird

plunging from the wheeling heights of ecstasy

into black waters.

There is a moment, as you rip through the heaving surface

when sensation is all

abandonment to the depths is complete

and there is no thought.

No words. Then down down,

chasing the winking gleam of a fish

until reality clasped firmly in your beak

you emerge ………. rocket-like

you burst into the day’s hard glare

climb once more, but to a more conservative height.



(the day goes on, but the thrill is gone)

soon comes night.

And as you turn and head for home

there is a sad salt tang in the breeze

that draws at your consciousness, saying


No more the high-flung heights. No more

the light fantastic on the gusty winds.

Security is all